Coping with Distress: Building a Safe Space
As a Houston counselor and psychotherapist, I work a lot with clients who struggle to feel safe. Safety can mean many different things, and lack of safety could look like:
- Worrying that your feelings are too big or too powerful
- Fearing that someone you love is going to leave you
- Fearing other people’s judgement
- Fearing the aggression you feel toward others
- Feeling like the other shoe is going to drop at any moment
- Not trusting yourself
I’ve been thinking this past week about how I help my clients build internal safety. I want to share a technique with you that can be really powerful. This is a visualization technique that can take many forms. The basic premise is that you imagine a safe space in your mind that you can visit whenever you want. You spend time creating the space and making changes so that you feel absolutely safe. I offer some ideas below, though the technique works best if the visual comes from you.
- The very top of a mountain where you have a fortress with a moat and a drawbridge
- An island that nobody has ever discovered, except for you
- A garden hidden behind great big walls with lions guarding the only entrance
- A dungeon with many cells and heavy doors to keep terrifying things locked away
As you are creating this safe space, use all of your senses to imagine every detail. What does the space look like? What colors do you see? What textures can you see and feel? What does the air smell like? What does the air taste like? What does the air feel like against your skin? What sounds do you hear? Are they coming closer or going further away? Are there any objects in the space? If this is a building, what rooms are there? Are there any windows or doors? Is there furniture? What does the furniture look and feel like? If this is an outdoor space, imagine your surroundings. What do you see down on the ground? What do you see straight ahead of you? What about when you turn around? What do you see when you look up?
Each time you come back to this space, imagine these details. Notice how you feel, and know that you can always make changes so that you feel safe and comfortable here.
Call me at 713-659-9634 to schedule a free consultation to see how counseling can help you to build safety.